Loquat sells clothing, accessories, ceramics and more from over 30 local artist at its new location on Congress Street in Portland’s Arts District. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster

Loquat Shop, run by former Maine College of Art & Design students, has moved to a prominent location in Portland’s Arts District, finding a home at historic Mechanics’ Hall.

Jordan Carey and Madison Poitrast-Upton work with a team of queer artists of color, mostly immigrants and first-generation Americans, to sell their work and build community. Most are fellow MECA graduates.

The store that began as a passion project between Carey and Poitrast-Upton in 2020, during the pandemic, sells clothing, accessories, ceramics and more from over 30 local artists.

Before setting up shop on Congress Street, Loquat was in a basement space on Exchange Street, where Carey said they weren’t getting a lot of foot traffic. Now, with their prominent storefront in the Arts District, more people are discovering them, he said.

The new studio and manufacturing space also allows Loquat to function as a place for marginalized artists and crafters, he said.

“I want to utilize the space for the community as much as possible, hosting different kinds of groups and workshops. I’m excited for it to be more of a cultural hub,” he said.


Nate Stevens of The Boulos Company, who co-brokered the deal between Loquat and Mechanics’ Hall, said Loquat’s mission was a perfect fit for the building, which since 1815 has supported artisans and innovators and hosts an array of arts programs and events.

Carey, a clothing designer, originally was interested in painting, but it wasn’t an artform that was highly valued by his Bermudian culture, he said.

“I didn’t think that as a culture we held it in high enough regard for me to do the kind of work I wanted to do,” he said.

Jordan Carey hopes the new space at Mechanics’ Hall will become a gathering place for marginalized artists and crafters. Mikayla Patel / The Forecaster

While Loquat’s other artists have a long history of love for fashion, for Carey it was an acquired taste.

“I did it strictly because I felt like my art required it, and not because I loved fashion,” he said.

Through studying fashion and learning from others who work with clothing, that’s changed.

“I love it now. Now, I have so much respect for craft and dyeing and weaving,” he said.

“There are so many geniuses around, especially in the African community in Portland,” he said, with “generations of sartorial knowledge that I’m in awe of.”

“It’s kind of amazing to stumble into stuff like that and not know how much future it has for you,” Carey said.

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